Solitaire 1.1

Wizard Card  -  Volume 29  -  Mr. Wizard Number 1  -  Wed, Oct 13, 1993 9:01 AM

Solitaire 1.0 was a smashing success. We gathered statistics on over a thousand games. Special thanks to Suzanne, Paul, Janine, Betsy and to my good friend Tom Grubb. For his efforts in behalf of a worthy ponarv, I hereby declare Tom to be an honorary Archipelagoan.

Solitaire 1.1, unlike the earlier version, does NOT automaticaly transmit data through the My Contributions stack, so you can share it with non-Archipelagoans. If you wish to provide command central with additional data, please include a copy of your Solitaire stack with any future packet. The new version displays all the data gathered so far and offers a number of tools to help analyze that data.


Version 1.1 moves the Stat card features to a separate menu. You can now add and drop stat cards or jump directly to any existing stat card from the Stats menu.

Each stat card now sports a popup menu from which you can select any of five statistical displays:

  • Distribution displays a histogram showing the average distribution of hidden cards remaining on the board after losing games. This gives some indication as to whether the player tends to uncover cards from left to right, or from right to left. If you wish, you can restrict the analysis to only those games in which less than a given number of cards remained in the deck. This lets you focus on close games in which any directional tendencies are more likely to stand out.
  • Time Stats displays information about how much time we spend playing solitaire. Statistics include number of sessions, average number of games per session, average length of game in seconds, average length of session in seconds, and longest session. This display automatically adds lines to the data transcript to delineate sessions.
  • Progress displays a histogram of the number of games won in the first, second, third, and fourth quarters of the games played. If a player's skill improves over the course of many games you would expect to see an increase in the number of games won over time.
  • Passes 2 Win displays a histogram of the number of games won with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or more than 6 passes through the deck. This tool provides an easy way to determine how many games you would have won if the three pass limit was enforced.
  • Averages displays a number of interesting statistics including average passes through the deck for winning games, average passes for losing games, average number of cards remaining in the deck for losing games, average number of cards remaining hidden on the board for losing games, and the average maximum card on the ace piles reached during losing games.
By studying these displays carefully, and by comparing statistics between two players, it may be possible to tease out a few patterns. You can also carry out new experiments by playing 100 games with stategy A and then playing 100 games with strategy B. Just create a separate stat card for each effort. Be sure to check the box in the upper right corner of the stat card to indicate which card should receive the next entry.


The most important addition to version 1.1 is the stat display popup menu. This is actually a locked field with a mouseDown handler. The scripts that control each of the five current display options can be found inside that script.

Each display works by reading through the data transcript line by line in a repeat loop. Individual values are separated by referring to word x of line y. Paint tools are used to draw the histogram. This script is a classic example of data analysis techniques in HyperCard.

Future Research

I have heard a number of excellent ideas for future enhancements. In one of my voice cards this issue I described a modified version of Solitaire in which the deck is arranged in piles of three. Paul has suggested an option to store a set of random card sequences so that identical games could be played under different stategies or by different players. I have also yet to implement auto play or guaranteed winnable hands. Your feedback and suggestions will determine the future of Solitaire research.